chapter  5
The Masculine Dilemma: “Not Too Close, Not Too Far Away”
Pages 13

Masculine depression has numerous consequences for men’s physical health, mental health, working life, and relationships. The focus of this chapter is the impact of masculine depression on the man’s primary intimate relationship with his wife, girlfriend, or partner. It is in this relationship that men often play out the psychological dramas that are related to issues that we described in previous chapters-confl icts created in his family of origin and reactions to masculine social pressures. For a signifi cant group of men, these issues create strongly mixed feelings about primary relationships-a basic and seemingly unresolvable dilemma. In this chapter, we describe the emotional discomfort (often accompanied by extreme behaviors) associated with either being too enmeshed with or detached from one’s partner. Fully understanding the consequences of masculine depression in intimate relationships sets the stage for the solutions that we will propose in the second half of this book.